There seems to be a general consensus, both here at MCMs and around the sports worlds, that unruly players, such as Kenny Britt, will be subject to fines, suspensions, and other penalties when the CBA is signed and the lockout is lifted. A point that was renewed after James Harrison's recent lapse in judgment. But we are failing to consider the point, should that and can that actually be done?
However, many assume that once the lockout ends, the Titans front office and/or the Commisioner will begin handing out punishments like they are candy. The owners and league want to have their cake and eat it to. They have locked the players out and will not allow them under the covering, protection, and assistance of the team structure and league rules, but after it is over, they want to retroactively impose those sanctions. That is poposterous. Either the league is in lockout or it is not. The players are currently under no legal contract or binding team rules with the league and owners, how can we later say, "Even though the rules didn't apply when you broke them, we are going to punish you anyway?" If the league wants to police the actions and words of every player in the NFL, then Goodell and company need to come to the table, sign a deal, and then begin enforcing rules from that point forward.
If the situation was reversed, could we honestly expect a similar outcome? Consider a situation where the players decided to go on strike. During the course of this strike, the players missed OTAs, camp, preseason, and 3 games of the regular season. But after the strike was over, the players came back to the facilities expecting to pick up their paychecks for the last few months they had been on strike as if nothing happened. The players would not, and could not, go one strike and miss games without knowing that they would be making a sacrifice, including their salaries for those missed games. It would be ludicrous for the players to act like nothing had happened, but if the league and coaches start handing out fines or suspensions, that will be exactly how they are acting. If this does indeed happen, I hope the NFLPA will take a stand and not let it happen.
Do I believe that Kenny Brit has acted like an idiot and deserves to be punished? Sure, it is probably in the league's, the Titans', and Britt's best interest for some sort of punishment to be handed out. However, the league should honestly not be allowed to do this. They are the ones who locked out the players and appealed the court decision to keep that lockout in place. Locking out the players should not come without a price, including not being able to police and regulate the player's actions during the course of that lockout. Attempting to do such retroactively is not fair to the players.